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Experts Say Parents Should Be Mindful Of Stresses Kids May Face Getting Back To Normal After Months Of Social Distancing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - More parents are bringing their young children outside as coronavirus restrictions are slowly lifted.

CBS2's Cindy Hsu explains how parents can go about socializing their kids who may be uncomfortable around other people after being cooped up for months.

Jenny Chamoun's 20-month-old daughter, Matilda, is used to being around lots of family, but getting out again was hard after two months at home.

"Noises scared her, people scared her and it really broke my heart to see that," said Chamoun. "I think it was largely because she was indoors and the only interaction she ever had was myself and my husband."

Matilda is too young to wear a face covering, and she now takes classes that help her get used to seeing people again while being socially distant.

Experts say kids may experience separation anxiety and stress about school. They say older students could be dealing with "FOMO," the fear of missing out.

"Parents have to keep on top of the information, both the medical, the state, the government, the city, the school information so that they know what the guidelines are," said Dr. Robin Goodman, a psychologist.


Ultimately, families need to decide what they're comfortable with.

Younger children may benefit from practicing safe interactions. Parents can talk to older children about what is and isn't safe.

"As soon as playgrounds opened up, I just decided I would keep my distance. I'd wear a mask, but I wanted her to have a chance to play in the water, and if that meant that she had to be around other kids, then so be it," said Kirkley Strand, who was holding her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Daisy.

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Experts say parents and caregivers really need to manage their own behavior and anxiety because children are watching and will pick up on it.

Five-year-old Hugo Baumann's parents made sure their son knows the rules.

"When people inevitably make the mistake of getting too close without a mask, Hugo will look at me and say, 'No mask,' and get away from the person," said Caroline Baumann.

Hugo's parents keep him busy - he just started his first in-person taekwondo class since the pandemic started.

Experts say there is no uniform policy on how to socialize your kids. They say to just stay informed and do what's right for your family.

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